Nicole’s Sister: Simpson Had ‘Frightening’ Look on Day of Slayings
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ O.J. Simpson had a strange, ``frightening″ look in his eye and stared at Nicole Brown Simpson during a dance recital for their daughter hours before his ex-wife was stabbed to death, Ms. Simpson’s sister testified today.
Simpson greeted all Brown family members at the June 12 school recital except his ex-wife, Denise Brown said, and ``he had a very bizarre look in his eye, it was a very faraway look.″
Defense attorneys, challenging Brown’s testimony, showed the jury a home video in which a laughing Simpson scoops up his son and kisses his family that evening after the recital. The tape was taken by another parent outside the school.
The defense suggested the video shows Simpson was relaxed and happy that evening. Prosecutor Christopher Darden, however, said Simpson seemed tense and ``his smile seems forced.″
Brown said the video showed a very different Simpson than the man in the auditorium during the recital. ``Inside the auditorium, he was watching Nicole and looking and no smile on his face at all,″ the witness said.
As Judge Lance Ito previewed the tape with the jury out of the room, Simpson rocked back in his chair and gestured toward his face as if to point out that he looked neither glazed nor spooky, as his former sister-in-law claimed.
Brown, Ms. Simpson’s older sister, was in her second day on the stand. Describing Simpson’s expression at the recital the day of the killings, she said, ``It was actually really kind of spooky. It was a frightening look.″
``He just had a very different look about him. It was more of a, like a glazed over, kind of frightening, dark eyes. It just didn’t look like the O.J. we knew,″ she said. She said Simpson moved a chair to a corner of the auditorium and sat by himself, and every time she looked that way, ``he was staring at Nicole.″
She said tearfully that as she kissed her sister goodbye after dinner later that evening, ``the last thing I told her was that I loved her.″ Ms. Simpson and a friend, Ronald Goldman, were slain later that evening outside her home.
Beginning cross-examination, defense lawyer Robert Shapiro quizzed her on her previously admitted drinking problem and asking how much she had had to drink on the evenings that she had testified about abuse. She acknowledged that she had been drinking on both evenings.
Earlier today, jurors saw a dramatic photograph today of Ms. Simpson with a black eye but then were told to disregard it after the judge ruled it inadmissible because the prosecution couldn’t establish when the picture was taken and by whom.
Ito made the ruling after Shapiro asked for sanctions for misconduct against the prosecution for showing the photo.
The picture was found by police in Ms. Simpson’s safe-deposit box in December. In the box were newspaper clippings about a 1989 beating, for which Simpson later pleaded no contest to wife abuse. Darden said he assumed the disputed photo was relevant in some way to the 1989 beating because of the items it was found with.
After jurors were told to disregard the first photo, they were shown two others found in the safe-deposit box, one showing Ms. Simpson’s bruised forehead and the other showing her bruised arm. Brown testified that she took the pictures a few days after the 1989 beating.
Prosecutors are trying to convince jurors that years of jealousy and rage led Simpson to kill.
Brown broke down Friday when she testified about an incident in which, she said, Simpson literally threw Ms. Simpson out of their home after he became angry at a remark Brown had made.
Picking up on her account of that incident, she said today that Simpson’s face was contorted with rage that night. She said the incident took place after the four had dinner at a Mexican restaurant sometime in the early 1980s.
``At that time he got very upset and he started screaming,″ Brown said today. ``His whole facial structure changed; everything changed about him. ...
``It wasn’t as if it was O.J. anymore.″
Brown testified that she, Ms. Simpson and Brown’s date, Ed McCabe, went to the Beverly Hills Hotel where McCabe was staying and spent the night. Brown said her sister returned to Simpson’s home the next morning even though ``I told her that she shouldn’t go back.″
In his cross-examination, Shapiro got Brown to acknowledge having drinking during the incident and a second incident, at a bar, in which she said Simpson grabbed Ms. Simpson’s crotch.
After the June 12 murders. Brown initially had said she didn’t believe her sister was battered. By November she had changed her views and declared that Simpson had killed her.